The rangers opened fire, killing one and seriously wounding a second. Tavengwa Mazhongwe learned his craft from his older brother, “Big Sam”, who was killed poaching in 2009. I remember being in Swansea with my grandfather, who played rugby for Wales – a gentleman called Dai Thomas – and he gave me a BBC wildlife magazine from 1971. The rangers recovered an AK-47, a Mauser rifle with silencer, an axe, rubber gloves, a medical kit, tinned food and a phone-charger pack. More than 1,100 of the animals were killed across Africa in 2016, leaving barely 20,000 white rhinos, classified as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and 5,000 “critically endangered” black rhinos. Zimbabwe is home to the world’s fourth largest black rhino population after South Africa, Namibia and Kenya. A wildlife official in Zimbabwe said today that the amount of animal poaching in the country has increased substantially this year, blaming an international crime syndicate. The poaching gangs are growing more sophisticated. In Zimbabwe, between January and February, three elephants were killed by poachers, but since the beginning of the lockdown, at least seven elephants have been lost in the Hwange National Park and Bubye Conservancy, according to a CNRG source. Some will seek out human company. Poaching in Zimbabwe and South Africa Many journalists, scholars and locals agree that poverty in Zimbabwe greatly contributes to wildlife poaching and poaching in Africa as a whole. “Tourism is a major factor toward conservation and without the tourist camps being open there’s been no presence. PHUNDUNDU, Zimbabwe: Chiyevedzo Mutero was one of dozens of women competing in the remote Zimbabwean bush to join the all-female anti-poaching Akashinga rangers when she … Savé Valley may look idyllic, but it is a front line in a war against rhino-poaching. It cannot see us, for rhinos have poor eyesight. The SSPU is prevailing nonetheless. Poaching, poisoning and anthrax have been ruled out as causes of death. A crowned eagle flies overhead with a rock rabbit in its talons. “The park has been an empty shell except for a few rangers, but they have managed to keep poaching at bay, which is a fantastic success.”. Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population, estimated at 156,000, and Zimbabwe … Giraffes placidly return your stares. Zimbabwe arrests over 400 in poaching syndicates crackdown By reporter263 January 10, 2017 No Comments Share Tweet Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr Email + In the past, Zimbabwe has struggled to stop poaching, even in protected areas and when making exceptions for trophy hunting. Traditional bush skills and the use of innovative technology together allow for a … Poaching is a major problem in Africa, with conservation groups estimating that a record 1,305 rhino were killed across the continent last year. Combined with the devastating decline of the region’s elephant population (approximately 75%) due to ivory poaching, proactive anti-poaching efforts are our primary mandate. There has been an alarming upsurge in armed poaching of endangered rhinos primarily in the “Lowveld Conservancies” in South Eastern Zimbabwe The odds are stacked against the SSPU in other ways, too. Sometimes the poachers use AK-47s against rhinos too: in 2014 one was hit 23 times. Mazhongwe was responsible for at least 150 rhino killings, including many in Savé Valley. Organized gangs of poachers slaughtered nearly one-quarter of the country’s rhinos between 2007 and 2009, and poaching remains the greatest threat today driven primarily by demand from Asian markets, particularly Vietnam and China. My guide and I meet Bryce Clemence, the stocky, bearded outdoorsman who heads the conservancy’s Special Species Protection Unit (SSPU), by a muddy waterhole so that he can show us the most special of those species. Clemence points. Poaching continues to be the main threat against the country’s rhinos. Elephant conservationist lauds “huge result”. Holly with her go-to ranger (Margot Dempsey) Akashinga Rangers out on morning patrol (Holly Budge) Tavengwa Mazhongwe learned his craft from his older brother, “Big Sam”, who was killed poaching in 2009. The 52-year-old said: “In 2008 and 2009 it was really bad. Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NWSuite #615Washington, DC 20036(202) 332-0982contact@pulitzercenter.org, Jeff Barruspress@pulitzercenter.org(202) 460-4710, “We will illuminate dark places and, with a deep sense of responsibility, interpret these troubled times.”. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that 60% of … Last year about In February 2015 they shot a six-month-old calf for just 30 grams of horn, Clemence tells me. “Thankfully, with the hard effort we’ve put in with Zimbabwe national park rangers, we’ve curbed that.”. Nick now runs a conservation project with his wife Desiree covering the Lower Zambezi Valley of Zimbabwe, an area of 10,000 sq km (3,800 sq miles). Thankfully that has been avoided. The first known case of elephant poisoning in Zimbabwe was a single massacre of over 100 elephants in Hwange national park in 2013. Clemence’s quasi-military operation consists of 35 highly trained men, all expert trackers, supremely fit and equipped with semi-automatic rifles and radios. In an unprecedented move, an all-female unit has been created in the north of the country to … In the first three months of 2012, when Clemence arrived, the conservancy lost 14 rhinos. Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population, estimated at 156,000 and Zimbabwe has the second largest, estimated at 85,000. “We were losing an elephant a day in the valley through poaching and now we have not lost one in Mana for 12 months – that’s unbelievable. 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